SMITE Nike Build Guide: How to Dunk On 'Em with the Goddess of Victory

The Goddess of Victory is here to conquer Season 3 of SMITE. Check out these tips and you'll be hitting nothing but net with Nike. Swish.

The finish line is in sight. SMITE Season 3 is almost over, and soon some of the most powerful gods and goddesses will heed the beck and call of the world's strongest SMITE teams in a bid for total conquest at the World Championship. 

Who will hold Mjolnir in victory? Who will be vanquished to the shadows of defeat? It's hard to tell this far out, with competition this fierce...

...but Nike knows. 

Every bit as sleek and deadly as her spear, and with more hops than Jordan, Nike has slammed her way onto the Battleground of SMITE's Season 3 jam. She's already made a name for herself as one of the most powerful, well-rounded frontliners currently available -- and sorry Odin, but she's just heating up. Since victory is well within the grasp of this Goddess when played properly, take a look at these tips and tricks if you want to follow her along the road of winstreaks. Don't think about it -- just do it

Navigating Nike

Nike is a crushing new Greek warrior every bit as comfortable on the frontlines as Bellona or Amaterasu. While she's not quite the damage sponge some heavier warriors like Guan Yu or Tyr can be, her passive HP regeneration and massive Ultimate damage shield make this victorious Greek valkyrie every bit as valiant in the face of the enemy.

Made in the same mold as more aggressive frontliners like Bellona or Osiris, Nike is adept at two things -- consistently applying pressure and powerful debuffs to the enemy team, and running straight over any squishier target that has the misfortune of being caught out of position. 

Careful positioning and game awareness is paramount, as always, but Nike's rather simple to learn (yet hard to master) skillset allows her to flip roles easily, and move from defensive peeler to damage dealer and aggressor very quickly. With a little practice using the abilities we cover below you'll be racking up Ws in no time.

But if all else fails? Dunk on 'em.  

Abilities

To Victory!

Nike sets three goals that the team can achieve to gain increased strength. Upon completing a goal, Nike's team gains a Laurel that increases Power and Movement Speed. This Laurel can increase up to 3 times.

  • Goal 1: Eliminate 10 Gods as a team
  • Goal 2: Eliminate 200 minions as a team
  • Goal 3: At least two allies are level 20
  • Bonus Movement speed: 3/5/7%
  • Bonus Power: 8/10/12%

Nike's passive showcases exactly what makes for strong play in a competitive team game like SMITE -- actual teamwork. 7% extra movement speed and 12% extra power are colossal advantages to have. And Nike's boons are both permanent, and team-wide...assuming you can all play together nicely enough to get there. 

While plenty of passives have scaling effects, Nike's scale exceedingly well into the late game -- 12% power and 7% movement speed is somewhere around a free Tier 2 item, and the Goddess of Victory is giving out five of these. Since the average cost of a Tier 2 item is between 1,000-2,000 gold, you can consider her passive as granting between 5,000-10,000 gold to your team in the mid to late game, and functionally 6.7 item slots over the standard six. 

No gimmicky "kill them inside the ring" requirements. No constantly monitored tide mechanics. No short durations that require you to continually expend mana to keep the bonuses. Just massive payoffs for doing what we all came here to do anyway -- playing to win. 

 Rend

Nike slams the ground twice, sending out fissures that deal damage. If a target is hit twice, that target loses protections for 5 seconds.

If Nike’s ‘Plan of Action’ is active, Rend gains an additional attack. If a target is hit three times, that target is disarmed.

  • Damage: 50/85/120/155/190 (+50% of physical power)
  • Protections Shred: 4/8/12/16/20
  • Disarm Duration: 1/1.25/1.5/1.75/2 seconds
  • Cost: 60/65/70/75/80 mana
  • Cooldown: 12 seconds

Nike's primarily leveled ability, primary damage ability, and primary wave clear, Rend is a metric ton of damage and debuffs crammed together. Rend is one of Nike's greatest strengths, effectively combining several offensive tools into one cooldown and dealing plenty of damage at a distance -- but it's also her biggest weakness. 

As a "channeled" ability, Nike is free to move and aim while Rending her foes, but can't actually employ basic attacks or other skills for the duration without canceling Rend. Also of note is that, since it's channeled, smart enemies will save their Crowd Control for when Nike starts Rending and ripping apart their friends, and effectively control the damage Nike can deal. This is bad news for you if you're playing Nike, but good news if you're trying to mitigate an enemy Nike. 

We talk a lot in these guides about positioning and timing, but Rend is one of the most obvious cases of positioning being important in the game -- merely running at an enemy (who is watching you) and slamming the Rend key is likely to get you CC'd and retaliated against heavily (nullifying most of your Rend damage depending how many slams you completed).

Level Rend up first, and don't forget that the protection shred can be as useful (if not moreso) than the damage in a teamfight -- tanks are just as fair targets for Rend as carries if the situation demands killing them.  

 Plan of Action

Nike draws upon her vast battle experience to plan her next move.

Passive: Nike gains HP5.

Active: Nike's next ability gains bonus damage and a special effect.

  • HP5: 10/15/20/25/30
  • Bonus Damage: 20/30/40/50/60
  • Cost: 30/35/40/45/50 mana
  • Cooldown: 18/17/16/15/14 seconds

Nike's "defining" ability mechanic, a Plan of Action isn't just how good teams win games -- it's a powerful Ability steroid that changes how Rend, Valiant Leap, and Sentinel of Zeus function. 

Plan of Action opens up the strong third strike in Rend, allowing Nike to gain an advantage when boxing with basic attack reliant enemies like Hunters, Warriors, and some Assassins -- or allowing her to take some of the pressure off of high priority allies from the same. 

Valiant Leap, normally a Space Jam-esque dunk sequence that leaves Nike in the air for approximately "forever", takes only a fraction of the time to complete when Nike has Planned ahead

Sentinel of Zeus sees a whopping 20% tooltip increase in the Max Health-based shield and a 30% tooltip increase on the shockwave/slow, making Sentinel the most common ability to be Planned out behind Rend. 

What makes Plan of Action so powerful, however, is that even at Level 1 of the ability, 10 HP5 allows Nike to make profitable trades and aggressions into an enemy laner and still come out the victor. The enemy will have to burn potions or mana to recover that spent HP (if they can at all), while Nike's slow healing is ticking away, keeping the goddess in fighting shape. This allows her to grind her enemies out of lane without having to burn many resources, setting her up for a stronger position come the mid game.

If you're going for more of a killstreak, feel free to save Plan of Action for last. In most cases, however, this will be Nike's next leveled ability behind Rend. It helps Nike maximize her sustainability, and allows her to activate the more powerful version of her skillset more often. 

Valiant Leap

Nike leaps into the air, then crashes down at a location dealing damage and knocking up enemies.

If Nike's ‘Plan of Action’ is active, she travels to the location much faster.

  • Damage: 65/115/165/215/265 (+60% of physical power)
  • Cost: 55/60/65/70/75 mana
  • Cooldown: 18 seconds

One of the key pieces to Nike's almost assured competitive viability is Valiant Leap. It is both a strong engage and solid escape tool, and very few "playable" gods or goddesses on the competitive scene can succeed without mobility. 

Luckily, despite the rather extended air time, Valiant Leap is a solid (if a bit familiar) performer in both attacking and retreating. Usually left for last, Valiant Leap's damage isn't a huge winner, but it's attached knock-up -- useful for peeling enemies off of high-priority allies or securing fleeing enemies for your team -- is an all-star addition, and gives Valiant Leap (and Nike's player) decision points. Wherever there's a decision, there's potential success. And wherever there's a bunch of small successes, there's potential for victory. 

Valiant Leap (as well as Plan of Action usage) is going to be the defining tool for differentiating the real Nikes from the Reeboks. But experienced Warriors who are familiar with only having one real mobility option will most likely adapt readily enough. 

If you're on the warpath, feel free to level Valiant Leap up behind Rend for the bonus damage, but in most cases a single point by level 4 will be good enough until everything else has been leveled to maximum. 

Sentinel of Zeus

Nike transforms into an armored sentinel and sends out a shockwave that damages and slows enemies around her. While in this form, she gains 40% of her max health as a shield.

If Nike's ‘Plan of Action’ is active, Nike instead gains 60% of her max health as a shield and applies a 60% slow.

  • Damage: 100/165/230/295/360 (+80% of physical power)
  • Slow: 30%
  • Shield Duration: 10 seconds
  • Slow Duration: 6 seconds
  • Cost: 90/95/100/105/110 mana
  • Cooldown: 100 seconds

Sentinel of Zeus is the Greek Goddess' most powerful tanking option and easiest assassination tool combined. Often, a Nike engaging a teamfight will walk (or Valiant Leap) into an enemy cluster, activate Plan of Action, and flick the Sentinel of Zeus switch -- detonating a massive slow (with a fair bit of attached damage) onto a mess of high priority targets, and giving her 60% more health to stay alive as her team follows up (at least, you hope they follow up).

In single target engagements, Sentinel of Zeus can function as the last nail in the coffin for enemies seeking to 1v1 Nike, as she can draw the fight out (eeking out small advantages with Plan of Action's passive health regeneration), then activate Sentinel of Zeus when both Nike and her foe are low.

From here, the enemy has few good choices. They can attempt to fight a Nike that has just effectively healed for 60% of her maximum HP, they can attempt to run with a 30-60% slow applied to them for 6s (effectively several lifetimes), or they can burn their mobility skill to leave the fight -- leaving them open for a Valiant Leap to follow up, and further tilt the fight in Nike's favor.

Powerful at both opening engagements and closing out fights in team brawls or solo duels, Sentinel of Zeus is an "all purpose" Ultimate that plays well with the strengths of this rather well-rounded, all purpose Goddess. 

As with nearly every Ultimate, level up Sentinel of Zeus whenever possible. 

Nike Item Build & Strategy

Team Comp

Luckily, Nike is a winner from any angle you look at her. She's mobile, durable, threatening,and well-suited to lone engagements or team fights...so the list of compositions Nike wouldn't perform at least decently in is rather short

However, look for picks that can keep up with her. While powerhouses like Anubis or Ymir may be good at following up on Leap knock-ups, their lack of movement is more often than not going to leave Nike fighting by herself a second or two too long in teamfights she engages with her Leap -> Plan -> Sentinel combo. 

In addition, try to look for gods and goddesses that can keep Nike fighting and distract the enemy squad safely. Geb is a good example here. Other gods can intensify Nike's strengths of AoE initiation from a distance (like Athena), or can benefit from Nike's knock-up without being left in the dust (like Awilix). 

If you decide to get really fancy, have your mid-lane Nox hop on Athena or Nike for a ride while Thor takes to the air. Thor flies in, Nike follows and detonates the Sentinel bomb, Nox explodes out, and Athena comes crashing down. Presumably your Hunter is also doing something useful, but at that point it's most likely irrelevant. Anything caught in that engage is either already dead, or about to be. 

Items

In most cases, start with Death's Toll to keep your health and mana coming, since this plays into the resource-trading style of play Nike's kit favors. If you're against a lane bully like Chaac, feel free to pick up Breastplate of Valor as your first "real" item after Warrior's Tabi. If you are the lane bully, Jotunn's Wrath is a fine first pick. Follow either one with the other to maximize your Cooldown Reduction (CDR) at 40%, ensuring you can have Plan of Action active often. 

After your "CDR and shoes" core, get Hide of the Urchin built so you can start stacking defenses, raw health, and mana. Shifter's Shield is a fine middle of the road item for standard 3/1/1 enemy compositions (that is, 3 physical damage, 1 magical damage, and "support", which is magic but not on the level of actual Mages) that keeps your damage and defenses where Warriors like them.

Brawler's Beatstick or Pestilence can also fit into this slot against healing-centric enemies, as can Spirit Robe (against heavy enemy CC) or Mantle of Discord if enemies have begun collapsing on Nike as she engages with Leap -> Sentinel.   

Finally, sell off the Toll to purchase either Frostbound Hammer (recommended in most cases), Winged Blade (against Ah Puch, Poseidon, or other slow-spamming enemies), or Witchblade/Runic Shield (against two or more Basic Attackers, and if your support did not purchase it). 

Here's the TL;DR:

Death's Toll > Warrior's Tabi > Jotunn's Wrath + Breastplate of Valor > Hide of the Urchin > Shifter's Shield (flex slot) > Frostbound Hammer (flex slot). 

"Odin, what does your one eye say about her Dunk level?"

Gameplay Strategy

Early in the game, use Plan of Action > Rend to effectively clear waves and harass the enemy. Be sure to do most of your melee work when Rend's protection shred is active to really bring the hurt. Dodge enemy CC during the Rend to avoid having your damage cut down -- and if you can't, bait out the CC before you Rend at all. 

Your playstyle in lane is defined by trading -- you both hurt each other, you both spend some mana. Maybe even both burn a potion or two. Thanks to Plan of Action and the protection shred from Rend, however, Nike is more often than not going to come out ahead. Before long your enemy will be in danger of dying and forced to retreat, while you're still sitting pretty at about half health. 

Once the team fights start in the mid game, however, it's your time to shine. First, assess whether or not you are your team's primary engage. If your team is starting fights with Ymir Blink > Freeze > Ult, or Thor Ultimate, you probably don't need to be the first one in, and can defend your back line until the main show-starter does their thing.

If you *are* the show-starter -- look before you Valiant Leap. All eyes are about to be on you as soon as you become the Sentinel of Zeus, and those two extra seconds you could've waited for your team to assemble behind you could very well mean the difference between life and death. 

Whichever role you take -- offensive or defensive -- just remember that you're most likely going to be doing a bit of both. Your role as a warrior is primarily to disrupt, contain, and protect. You're not there to get kill after kill (though you can), because you have at least two or three teammates already on that plan. You are there to engage, disrupt the enemy back line, keep them from making moves on your back line, and peel them off when they do.

If your team's Guardian/support is the shield, and your Hunter, Mage, and Assassin/carries are the sword, you are the arms flailing about in the breeze like a wacky waving arm inflatable tube person, and the mouth making scary monster sounds.

You can do nearly anything, which means you (as Nike) will be doing a bit of everything -- pushing back enemy carries with zoning Rends, peeling enemy assassins from your carries with Valiant Leaps, body-blocking or engaging enemy frontliners, dunking on the occasional fool with Valiant Leap > Sentinel of Zeus, and potentially bringing something that may or may not be qualified as "the ruckus". 

 

With Nike on your side, you'll start checking off plenty in the Wins column -- so go forth and conquer! But be sure to stop back and tell us how you heard those sweet swishes of success with Nike, the Goddess of Victory. 

Seriously. Just do it. 

Published Dec. 9th 2016

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